Wednesday, September 25, 2019

The Climate Crisis Is Making Her Crazy

The more I think about it the more the current climate crisis seems like something the pharmaceutical industry ginned up as a marketing campaign. More depression, more mental anguish equals more meds. It must surely count as one of the most cynical ploys in recent marketing history.

Better yet, for a people that counts itself as enlightened, that believes that its superior reasoning capacities have saved it from religious dogma, living your life as though you are a character in the Book of Revelation must count as totally retrograde and reactionary. It is not an accident that young Greta Thunberg sounds like a fire and brimstone preacher, or that she supports Antifa and other radical leftist causes. And that she knows nothing about science.

So much for having overcome religion. We overcame it, our Enlightenment thinkers have told us, because we now base our faith on science, not dogma.

And yet, if any of them had any sense they would know, as Wittgenstein famously suggested, that there is no such thing as a scientific fact about tomorrow. We hypothesize about tomorrow’s weather, but said weather is not a fact until tomorrow comes. As for the future of the climate, we are in the realm of prophecy.

As for the scientific consensus, scientific facts are not determined by consensus. They are determined by experimental verification, by testing a hypothesis. If many of the world’s leading climate scientists, like Richard Lindzen, believe that the hysteria is completely overblown, perhaps we should give his views more weight than we give to those of a truant who knows nothing of physics.

So, we have a burgeoning cult whose members assert their membership by driving themselves crazy in order to turn their lives into testimony to the truth of a girl who should be back in high school. We should feel sorry for them. We should wonder how they got sucked into this maelstrom. We do not, but, fear not, Polly does. I am referring to the author of the Ask Polly advice column in New York Magazine.

To prove her surpassing virtue a woman who says she is “In Heat” writes to Polly to share her anguish over the coming climate apocalypse. Why would she not write to the highly challenged Polly. After all, water finds its own level. Doesn’t it? 

If In Heat wants empathy, she will find it with Polly. Here, not so much. 

She is riddled with guilt for being a white climate destroyer. And because she is making things so much worse for people in the developing world. Seriously, folks. She believes that she herself is one of the causes that is bringing about the apocalypse. Apparently, it makes her feel ever so influential.

If we did not have it in her own words, we would not believe it. You will note that Polly, who has the unfortunate habit of referring people to therapy-- see previous post-- does not recognize that In Heat could really use some serious professional help.

Anyway, here is a portrait of a true believing climate hysteric:

My fear of climate change is eating away at my sanity.

I feel very guilty that the developing world will pay most dearly for the carbon belched from us wealthy nations, but I also don’t want to give up plane rides to Italy, hamburgers, and cheap underwear made in Bangladesh.

When that whole anti-straw campaign was going on, I felt like I didn’t give a shit about straws, partly because I read an article saying that fishing nets are the biggest plastic threat to marine life, and partly because I want to continue to have my cake and eat it, too. (I have since bought metal reusable straws.)

Polly, I do all the right things: I drive an electric car. I fastidiously separate my recycling. I turn off the water when I shampoo and condition. I donate to Greenpeace.

And yet.

And yet even if everyone on Earth suddenly started separating their plastics, we’d all still be fucked for a very long time. The apocalypse is coming. Maybe that sounds dramatic, but that’s truly the crisis call that’s going on in my head. A quarter of the world is going to be facing a severe water shortage very soon, cities will face dangerous sea-level rise, food supplies will be strained. Need I go on? I feel like, why even pursue my dream career or find my dream man if we’ll all be living in bunkers in 30 years?

Feeling neurotically afraid of my carbon footprint every time I step into a plane, while fair, somehow also feels like another excuse for me to feel bad about taking up space in this world. I tend to make myself small to leave room for other people. I fear that if MY suitcase is too heavy, the plane will fall out of the sky. Like, what is that? I fear that as a white woman, being successful in my career will take away from the opportunities of someone less privileged. When considering approaching a guy, I think about all the other attractive women out there that he’d probably think are hotter, and step aside for them.

I want to live with a mind-set of abundance in all aspects of my life while still being responsible in a time of climate change without turning my hair gray from worry. Can you please help me navigate all this with a healthier perspective?

In Heat

Naturally, we suspect that the letter is a parody, something from the Onion. We comfort ourselves with the thought that no one is this far gone. Alas, if it seems so clearly to be a parody, it is probably true.

For her part Polly sees nothing wrong with this. She believes that In Heat has it precisely correct, that she is in touch with reality. In truth, In Heat is a cult follower, one who is ready to start baying at the moon. If that will stop the catastrophe, why would she not do it.

Here, a few words from Polly:

In the past few months, I’ve seen an uptick in letters about the climate crisis. To me, that’s a good sign. Outspoken climate crisis activists like Greta Thunberg and everyone involved in the school strikes for climate and the Sunrise movement are starting to make a difference in how we experience this rapidly unfolding catastrophe. Just watching this video about young activists coordinating their efforts around the world might help.

I watched it a few days ago and cried several times. I cry whenever I see kids marching or when I hear Thunberg or another young activist speak. But that makes sense: Sadness and helplessness are a big part of this movement, actually. People tend to associate activism with optimism and even delusion. But the people who get involved in major movements are people who don’t cut off their feelings about the dire state of the world. These are people who experience sadness and helplessness often. Instead of pushing those feelings away, they welcome them in until they’re driven to take action.

Gosh, the young and the deluded are feeling their feelings. You cannot get any more therapeutic than that. As for reality, they do not know and do not care.

So, Polly thinks that we can solve it all by sharing our feelings, and melding with our fellow cult followers:

Even as the world grows darker, we’re more isolated from each other than ever. We might connect on social media, but we don’t feel capable of asking our neighbors to come over and talk about the crisis we’re in. We’re taught to hide our emotions from the people we see every day. We’re told that strong emotions belong in movies or at concerts, where you pay a $20 or $200 ticket price to feel feelings in the company of other people. We’re instructed to handle our feelings of sadness and helplessness by going out for a nice meal or buying a new lipstick or getting a massage. We don’t feel justified in reaching out to each other in the midst of our terror and anguish.

Terror and anguish… over a fantasmatic Biblical prophecy. You know the old saying: Get a life. It’s time to dust that saying off and to bring it out of retirement. It’s not the climate that will do us in. It’s supposedly intelligent people giving away their material possessions in order to camp out in the woods, awaiting the impending catastrophe.

But then, the letter writer says she is in heat. Perhaps that is trying to tell her something. 


whitney said...

I think the apocalypse is coming and I have some anxiety about it. I think these people are going to bring it on and turn this world of abundance into a desert but it doesn't make me rage and scream because I see it as end stage civilization and it is impossible to turn that clock back. It actually makes me enjoy the abundance more because I think it might be gone tomorrow. Also, I feel morally good about not recycling. And just so you have a little perspective I used to work for an environmental lobby. I actually know these people and they are batshit crazy and hell-bent on destroying everything. Their hatred of themselves and Humanity knows no bounds

Anonymous said...

^Wow... Somehow I had convinced myself that I might be nihilist, but I now realize I was only an optimistic poser all along.

David Foster said...

Arthur Koestler wrote about the Tragic and Trivial planes of life. The Tragic plane is concerned with ultimate things: childbirth, falling in love, war, death. (Koestler's use of the word Tragic...actually, he used the French word Tragique) does not necessarily refer to things that are bad, as a couple of the examples suggest.) Most people live their lives on what he calls the Trivial plane of dailyness, entering the Tragic plane only on exceptional occasions.

I think much political activism, and especially true of the desire for apocalypse, is a reflection of the need of people to get more Tragic Plane into their lives.

Erich Maria Remarque's great but neglected novel The Road Back is focused on a group of young German men who have survived the trenches of WWI and now find themselves at loose ends. For one of them, Georg Rahe, the longing to recapture the excitement and especially the feelings of comradeship and meaning that existed during the war is particularly strong.

Rahe now sees idealism perishing in a civilian existence that is “this pig’s wash of order, duty, women, routine, punctuality and the rest of it that they call life here”…he sees an ordinary city street as “All one long fire trench” and the houses as “Dugouts, every one–the war still goes on–but a dirty, low-down war–every man against his fellow–” These feelings drive him to join up again–whether the small regular army or one of the Freikorps units is not specified.

"And though you tell me a thousand times that you hate war, yet I still say, we lived then. We lived, because we were together, and because something burned in us that was more than this whole muck-heap here…I’m going where comradeship is still to be found."

I think these feelings are common among today's activists, although a little different from Rahe's because he is longing to recapture feeling he has experienced whereas they are looking for experiences that they have not previously had.

Just thinking out loud here...I'll do a post on this topic if my thoughts ever gel.

Sam L. said...

This is my feeling. It it MY feeling, though it's possible that you have it too: It's all B.S. The climate has been changing since the earth first had an atmosphere. Hot, cold, glaciers, and a variable sun. Could be the changes in the magnetic poles.
VOY, eh?

Anonymous said...

Buying into the man-made climate change idea seem very very easy for a lot people. The question no one asks is : What is it that they like about this theory?

I think the answer is complicated and disturbing and has nothing to do with "science" whatsoever.

Anonymous said...

I like those old videos of Isaac Asimov pining about global warming.

UbuMaccabee said...

Nature cults are the modern legacy of that idiot, Rousseau. I am reminded of Voltaire when I hear from these dirt worshippers:

“I have received, sir, your new book against the human race, and I thank you for it. You will please people by your manner of telling them the truth about themselves, but you will not alter them. The horrors of that human society--from which in our feebleness and ignorance we expect so many consolations--have never been painted in more striking colors: no one has ever been so witty as you are in trying to turn us into brutes: to read your book makes one long to go about all fours. Since, however, it is now some sixty years since I gave up the practice, I feel that it is unfortunately impossible for me to resume it: I leave this natural habit to those more fit for it than are you and I.”

A return to savagery, but without the cunning or self-reliance. This will end very badly.

ppjakaJim said...

These are the people who, for whatever reason, join cults. They desire an outside source to give their life meaning.

We see this plainly in the Left’s child goddess condemning the world for destroying her life, yet it is the very perception of destruction that gives it meaning. Her first step is condemnation of her “enemies.”

The next step will be her cheering their deaths. In that she represents the Left quite plainly.